PETALING JAYA - Television networks in Taiwan covering the murder and abduction at a water villa on Pom Pom Island on Nov 15 reported that Malaysian authorities have raised more questions than provide answers on the security in Sabah's east coast area.
Major TV stations, such as CTi, TVBS, Chinese Television System, ETTV and Next TV, reported on alleged lax security, slow police response and bad PR in handling the incident that involved two Taiwanese victims.
According to a CTi report, a guard who heard the gunshots during the incident tried to contact police but eight of the officers on the island did not respond to him.
Malaysian police had said that a resort guard ran to inform the General Operations Force (GOF) base about 800m away. When the police arrived at the scene, they found the body of Hsu Li Min with two gunshot wounds to the chest and four empty bullet casings.
Asked about this at a press conference at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said: "The Taiwan media got the wrong information. Probably, it came from someone who was not well-informed."
Meanwhile, a TV host and five media observers on the ETTV talk show This Is It said the island is located in "a historically risky zone" surrounded by Malaysian, Philippine and Indonesian waters.
An observer chided the Malaysian authorities over the fact that the incident happened about 1km from one of the bases of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), which was set up after the Feb 12 Sulu intrusion in Lahad Datu.
"Historically, people there have been living in poverty. Many pirates operate there and the Abu Sayyaf group, which is linked to the incident, is a cruel lot," said one of the observers.
A Next TV report was highly critical of Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein over his alleged remarks at a press conference hours after the incident that this kind of thing could happen anywhere.
To highlight the security issue in the area, the TV stations ran scenes from the film Captive, directed by Brilliante Mendoza, based on abductions at the Malaysia-Philippines border.